Today marks the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945. The AP reports 50,000 people gathered in the Hiroshima peace park accompanied by many of the “hibakusha,” or “explosion-affected” and burned incense in honor of the over 140,000 decedents who perished in the inferno.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui were both in attendance. Abe spoke about the duty Japan faces as the sole country to be the victim of a nuclear attack while vowing to “do everything in my power to make peace a lasting reality and abolish nuclear weapons.” To some, these comments sounded hollow without even a slight mention of either the dilemma the country is facing over nuclear energy or the thousands who were made refugees by the Fukushima power plant disaster.
The Fukushima disaster of 2011 caused most of Japan’s nuclear reactors to be shut down after a tsunami/earthquake combination set off a series of meltdowns. The dangerous radioactivity displaced many of the people living in the regions of the plants.
Abe is in favor of restarting the plants after putting new safety guidelines in place, but others are not so sure. The Christian Science Monitor notes that after Abe had spoken, Matsui used his time to heavily criticize Abe’s administration on several political points, including its plans to sell nuclear energy technology to India.
“The government’s ongoing negotiations may bring economic benefits to Japan and India, but they will hamper efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons,” Matsui said. “We [The people of Hiroshima] urge the national government to rapidly develop and implement a responsible energy policy that places top priority on safety and the livelihoods of the people.”
Matsui went on to comment of the absurdity of Abe’s plan to restart the reactors, noting that the Tokyo Electric Power Co. has admitted to massive quantities of radioactive materials that are continuously and uncontrollably leaking into the ocean since the disaster.
The Japanese government is considering making modifications to their pacifist constitution and changes to their Self-Defense force. Such changes might even include permitting domestic weapons manufacturers to ship their products overseas. In related news, the Japanese also launched the largest warship they have fielded since WWII.